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John Collins being stalked by Fulham

last updated Monday 19th June 2000, 11:00 AM

Fulham's manager-in-waiting Jean Tigana has targeted John Collins to have a leading role at his new club.

The Frenchman - who doesn't officially take control at Craven Cottage until next month - is desperate to make the Everton midfielder his first signing, with a view to grooming Collins as his potential successor in the dug-out at the London club.John Collins

Soccernet can reveal that the Premiership pretenders have already made two enquiries about buying the 32-year-old and have not been dissuaded from pursuing the matter further by Everton's reluctance to sell. Indeed, Collins is understood to be keen on teaming up with his former AS Monaco mentor and the opportunity to explore a coaching role under Tigana would be very attractive.

Fulham managing director, Michael Fiddie, confirmed the ambitious First Division club's interest in the former Scotland international and their enthusiasm to recruit him. 'John Collins is a player we would like to see at Fulham and the fact that he has worked well with Jean before is a very big influence in that,'

Fiddie told Soccernet. 'We have made two approaches to Everton and so far we have not had much luck - but if the opportunity to buy him presented itself we would certainly be very keen to take it.'

Though he still has two years of his contract left to run at Everton, Tigana believes that Collins is the type of player to boost Fulham's bid to make the top flight in his first year in charge. With the sizeable financial backing of Mohamed Fayed, the Frenchman is looking to surround himself with the calibre of people needed to realise that dream and Collins is his primary target. Everton could still command a transfer fee in excess of £1million for their player but the greatest temptation for Walter Smith may be the chance to offload the club's biggest earner.

Smith is in the middle of restructuring his side for the challenge of the new season. And although Collins showed great form towards the end of last term, cashing in on the player's market value, while he can, might make most sense to Smith. Though Fulham are keen to act, the situation has been complicated by the holiday season. Smith is in America, while Collins and his agent, Raymond Sparkes, are on holiday and Fulham have not been able to contact them.

John Angus Paul Collins
Club: Everton
Date of Birth: 31 January 1968
Birthplace: Galashiels
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 10.10
Club Honours: Scottish Cup '95
International Honours: Scotland: 53; Under 21-8; Youth
Transfers: Hibernian (From Hutchison Vale BC on 9/8/84) SL 155+8/16 Scottish League Cup 7+3/1 Scottish Cup 17/3 Others 4/1
Glasgow Celtic (Signed on 13/7/90) SL 211+6/47 Scottish League Cup 22/3 Scottish Cup 21/3 Others 13/1 (Free to AS Monaco on 2/7/96)
Everton (£2,500,000 on 7/8/98) Premier League 19+1/1 League Cup 2+2/1

Signed from AS Monaco during the 1998 close season, the experienced Scottish international midfielder recovered from the shock of seeing a penalty kick saved on his Everton home debut to enjoy a solid start to his Premiership career. Ironically, Aston Villa's Mark Bosnich saved the effort, after watching the Scot score an identically struck effort against Brazil during the World Cup finals!

A hard-working, left-sided midfielder with a venomous shot, he opened his goals account in England with two excellent strikes against Middlesbrough and Sunderland in the Worthington Cup, before a niggling injury hindered him more and more as the season progressed and eventually forced him to undergo surgery. That ended his campaign on 28 December. Unfortunately, for a player who prides himself on his physical condition, it was the first serious injury of his career.
Source soccernet by Ian McGarry
Since 1998
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